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Handhelds Portables

2011, Year of the Tablet? 324

frontwave writes "After the huge success of the iPad, with over 4 million units sold since its introduction, all major hardware vendors of PCs and mobile devices are coming out with new tablets in the next few months, including Apple with a smaller version of the popular product. Analysts estimate the market for tablet devices (over 6" screen size) to be around 25 million units for 2011."
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2011, Year of the Tablet?

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  • Useless prediction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:51PM (#33664706)

    I'm just going to go ahead and call it.

    2011: Year of the soap bar

  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:53PM (#33664728) Journal

    I'm seriously waiting for this tablet hysteria to die down. In 2007/2008, it was netbooks and nowadays we barely hear a peep about them.

  • Doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkman, Walkin Dude ( 707389 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:54PM (#33664742) Homepage
    I think apple is riding on its marketing success with the iphone which rode on the marketing success of the ipod, and the other manufacturers are just chasing to keep up. In terms of utility I don't find tablets all that great, unless maybe someone comes up with a colour, solar powered, ruggedised ebook reader, then I'll buy two. I'd call it a pad fad until then. I know there will be hundreds of comments detailing all the wonderful uses they have found for the tablet, but I can't think of many my laptop doesn't do a lot better.
  • by frontwave ( 1895050 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:56PM (#33664796) Homepage
    The BBC called the iPad "a glorified toy", but the numbers are there: 4 million units in less than 5 months. I just try to look at the business market. Tablets are for hardware vendors what 3D is for TV now: an opportunity to raise profits. The mobile market is where people make money now
  • I doubt it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PhilipTheHermit ( 1901680 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:01PM (#33664866)

    Tablets have traditionally been used in realms like manufacturing and maintenance, where they replace the clipboards technicians used to carry around. They're useful for activities in which you're running around collecting data (i.e. checking inventory in a warehouse) or going through checklists (i.e. doing maintenance checks on an aircraft's engines). But how useful are they as general-purpose computing devices?

    We already have desktops and laptops, which are much better at general-purpose computing than tablets.

    We already have smartphones for our mobile computing needs.

    We have e-Book readers for carrying books around with us. They're getting programmable too.

    Someone tell me: what do we need tablets FOR? What can they do that our other gear doesn't already do more effectively?

    They don't seem that useful to me, compared to the alternatives.


  • Pixel QI Screens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by captrb ( 1298149 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:01PM (#33664872)
    I almost don't care about the operating system of a tablet, as long as it is well supported, as I suspect that in the future many tablet applications with be HTML5-based. But I really really really care about the screen. I want a Pixel QI(OLPC) style screen that works in light emitting and non-emitting mode, so that it can be used as a normal tablet, as an e-reader, and viewed in full sunlight.
  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:01PM (#33664878)

    This is old news. The 5th Dimension called this years ago in their song when they sang,

    'This is the dawning of the Age of the Archos.'

  • Re:Doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by riegel ( 980896 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:03PM (#33664910) Homepage

    I think apple is riding on its marketing success with the iphone which rode on the marketing success of the ipod.

    Or perhaps people like devices that pack a lot of functionality into a small footprint.

    I'm old but I loved the walkman because it was small. I loved the iPod because it was small, I love my iPhone because it is small, and I love the small size of the iPad.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy&tpno-co,org> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:07PM (#33664948) Homepage

    What are you using your tablet for? I have never understood what problem a tablet is trying to solve.

    I could see if it was a replacement for something like a notebook ( which I carry around daily ), but current tablets don't do that; the input method is clunky and unwieldy, I can still work significantly faster on my plain old notebook with a pen than a tablet.

    So what's it good for?

  • by dubbreak ( 623656 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:16PM (#33665110)

    I'd say netbooks aren't and weren't overblown, they filled and still fill a niche in the market that regular laptops don't and tablets can't.

    Yup. For the service guys at my work netbooks have been a blessing. They can take them to the field easily to attach to in field equipment. They are light and rugged enough for field work and are so cost effective that it becomes possible to carry a backup unit that gets left in the truck or hotel in case of failure. For the stuff they do a laptop is overkill (in both processing power and size + weight) and for the cost of a decently rugged laptop you can buy a bunch of netbooks.

    I almost bought my wife a netbook for her blog surfing (to replace the aging bulky laptop she currently uses), but I'm glad I waited as an Android based tablet fits her usage even better (and costs less). I'm holding on a bit before jumping as I haven't seen enough reviews yet, but something like this $168 china sourced Android 2.1 tablet [] would probably suit her perfectly. I'm waiting on seeing some reviews before I pull the trigger on that particular one. At that cheap it's I can justify some risk.. but I'd like to read at least one review to mitigate the risk of it being complete junk.

    I'm excited about the proliferation of low cost tablets. There are a lot of usage scenarios that they suit better than any other form factor (just as there are niche uses for netbooks). Let's face it, most people don't need the power of a full blown desktop or laptop. As a software developer that likes playing with media (RAW photos, movies etc) I DO need the horsepower, but for people like my wife or situations like my coworkers that just need to run configuration applications a netbook or tablet fits the bill perfectly.

  • Re:Doubt it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:19PM (#33665196) Homepage

    In terms of utility I don't find tablets all that great

    A little contrast: I'm a programmer and a power user, with, god, 15 years of Linux under my belt. I recently replaced my Palm TX with a 4g Touch, mainly for use as an ereader and music player, and yet suddenly I find myself using it instead of pulling out my laptop for certain things. Want to check my email? Browse my RSS feeds? Look up a wikipedia article? (Yes, I admit it) Check Facebook? All these things work great on my touch. But it's often that I really wish it had a larger screen... the instant on, always connected convenience is awesome, Safari is an impressive piece of work, and the high-res display means the touch is decent for web browsing, but a larger screen would be perfect. As such, I can conclude that I would likely find myself completely replacing my laptop with a tablet for idle internet noodling if such a device was available to me.

    'course, as always, I'm going to wait a hardware generation or two before I take the plunge. But I can definitely see a tablet filling a niche in my day-to-day life.

  • by zero0ne ( 1309517 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:26PM (#33665298) Journal

    Enterprise system administrator here.

    _IF_ we had wifi setup in our building I can see a HUGE use for this in my daily activities.

    Update a ticket? use the tablet to update it while you are on the PC dong the work. without one, I usually forget by the end of the day as I just want to leave.

    Need to re-image a PC using Altiris / KACE / OPSI / other home grown app? go to the site, log in, and queue up the jobs / tasks necessary for that asset.

    Those are just the ones that come to my head.

    Hell, regarding tickets / work done, you could create a area for the user to sign his name after you complete the work so that if they ever try to come back at you and say you didn't do it right or it was never completed, you have their sig right there!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:26PM (#33665302)

    The iPad is an *excellent* toy. My sister has one and loaded it up with educational materials for her kids. We decided to order take-out one night from a place we hadn't tried yet. I searched for the place on the iPad then passed it around so everyone could look at the menu and order what they wanted. My friend used his as a portable video player to show movies from his last vacation. It's not something I'd carry around with me like one does a cell phone, but I've seen how convenient it can be.

  • Re:I doubt it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Phantom Mensch ( 52436 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:30PM (#33665362)

    They are computers for folks that don't do "general purpose" computing. Folks that want to browse some websites, check their facebook and e-mail, carry their photos around and play some games. All without waiting for a general purpose OS to boot or worrying about a virus protection subscription. If a general purpose computer is for folks aged 13-70, iPad like tablets are for the 9-90 year olds.

    They're also a good secondary device the rest of us for low intensity after hours computing like the above mentioned activities. The size and screen resolution make them better than smartphones for this, and the instant-on Android/iOS applications environment make them better than netbooks for this.

  • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:44PM (#33665594)
    I work in an industry where we have historically bought US$3k+ touch screen devices to be the basis of kiosks. To our clients, the ipad is a miracle. It completely surpasses the hardware they were used to at a fraction of the price. From my perspective the ipad is every bit the piece of killer hardware the hype says it is and more.
  • Re:I doubt it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EkriirkE ( 1075937 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @01:53PM (#33665758) Homepage

    I've owned only tablet (convertible) pcs for about 6 years now, in tablet mode the only good uses I use that for are

    • web browsing
    • video
    • reading
    • drawing
    • many games*
    • presentations/demos
    • the swiveled screen in laptop mode was handy for sharing my non-projected screen

    *I had a toshiba tecra m4 that had a nifty little arrow-key joystick button on the corner which was awesome for RPGs using the pen for mouse. right now i use a smaller fujitsu lifebook which lacks these - when it dies i will look for another one with the thumbstick on the screen bezel

  • Re:Doubt it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nikker ( 749551 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:02PM (#33665916)
    I agree with you that these little devices are great for browsing for info and basic tasks but when I compare them to tablets I realize that they won't fit in my pocket. Most of the time I use my iPhone to look up quick info but it's because I already have it on me. If I had a tablet would I carry it around with me as much as my cell? Not likely. I would like to see one with much better specs as far as CPU, graphics, USB, SSD and HDMI and way more RAM(at least 1GB). With these specs I would definately use on as a laptop replacement, I don't really play games and the time wasters you can pick up for free are usually good enough for me. I could use it for small presentations and might even get a small laser projector(another tech gadget I'm watching closely) and a laser keyboard I'll be set.

    It will take the first generation to dissipate before we start to see this kind of stuff out there so early adopters ...

    Please disregard the previous message.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:23PM (#33666238)

    It sounds like you just proved the grandparent's point.

    The only one that seems like its unique to a tablet is the last one (the user signing his name) and that certainly can't be done with an iPad (no pen input). All the others can be done cheaper/easier/more flexibly with a laptop or, if size is a concern, a netbook.

    If you have to type a lot - like explaining the work you did to close the ticket - you probably don't want a tablet anyway. If you don't have to type much, you could probably get away with using a smartphone.

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:31PM (#33666364) Homepage Journal

    I don't care if it is the same size or not, but when trying both an iPad and Kindle outside its laughable.

    The first company to deliver a e-paper quality screen in color is going to rake in the money.

    I want a tablet that a) I can use in all lighting conditions, but will accept needing a light source b) will not be horribly put out money wise if I drop it/it walks

  • Serious answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:31PM (#33666366)

    1.5 pounds, smaller than a sheet of paper, no unfolding & setup, instant on, always connected. What's not to solve?

    Key thing most miss: it's not an outright computer replacement. It gives you about 80% of what you need a computer for, anywhere anytime. You don't have to drag around the mass storage, bulky input devices, larger screen, etc. you need for about 20% of your use. To the contrary, by putting 80% of what you do on a tiny superduperportable tablet, you're freed to leave a big bulky powerhouse computer behind, rather than trying to cram everything into a compromise notebook shell.

  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @03:11PM (#33666928) Homepage
    I'm not so sure. The ipad/tablets are just taking the place of netbooks. In my opinion netbooks were just underpowered and cramped laptops. The ipad/tablets remove the cramped aspect of the netbook and slap on a touch based gui. It seems to me that it's just the natural evolution of the netbook, taking it's shortcomings and addressing them. So I suppose if netbooks were a toy to you, then by all means, believe that the ipad is a toy as well.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"